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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

OOF, n., v., adj. Also ooff, ouf, woof, wouf(f), wowff. Obsol. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wolf (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 88, wouf, 1897 G. MacDonald Salted with Fire xvii.). Comb. ouf-dog, wolf-hound (Slk. 1818 Hogg Hunt of Eildon 322). See P.L.D. § 76.2. [uf, wʌuf]

I. n. The angler-fish, Lophius piscatorius (Bnff. 1880 Jam.; Mry., Bnff. 1964). Cf. Eng. wolf-fish; the grey gurnard, Trigla gurnardus (Lth. 1808 Mem. Wernerian Soc. I. 539).

II. v. 1. To be acid or sour, of “peaty soil in which oats die out before coming to maturity” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 120).

2. Of a grain-crop: to grow rank with leaves but produce no seed-heads. Freq. in ppl.adj. woofed, ooft, wrongly used as a n. in 1953 quot.Abd. 1883 Trans. Highl. Soc. 67:
The oat crop had a very luxuriant appearance, but part of it was “woofed”, that is, it had an excessive number of stems, so that it could scarcely be cut by the scythe, and not at all by the reaper, luxuriant leaves, but no grain.
Abd. 1953 Abd. Press & Jnl. (26 Nov.):
“Tulip-root,” “segging,” or “ooft” in oats.

3. To swallow ravenously, to 'wolf' up (food or drink) (Lnk. 1927, Abd. 1973, wowff). Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xviii.:
He criet, 'Gweed bliss'e Keeng, an' that, an' that', an' wowfft ower 'is ale.

III. adj., from II. used attrib., of a patch of soil: sour, acid, so that a crop does not grow properly. Wolfhill is also found as a place-name.Abd.15 1911:
We've a bittie o' corn beginnin tae turn o the oof-hill there.
Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. 148:
“Auchty score huner thoosan” kail plants i' the oof neuk o' a twa acker yardie.

[In meanings II. and III. appar. from the fig. use of wolf as a destructive or devouring agency, occas. also of a rodent or rankly spreading cancer.]

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"Oof n., v., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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